News

University of Maryland Student Indicted For Producing and Selling Fake Driver’s Licenses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted Theodore Steven Michaels, a/k/a Teddy Michaels, age 20, of Potomac, Maryland, on charges related to the production and transfer of fraudulent identification documents, in connection with the sale of fraudulent driver’s licenses that Michaels allegedly produced while he was a student at the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP). The indictment was returned on May 2, 2011. Michaels had an initial appearance on May 4, 2011, at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, and was released.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; David B. Mitchell, Director of Public Safety and Chief of the University of Maryland Police Department; and Special Agent in Charge David Beach of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office.

According to the 16 count indictment, from October to December, 2009, while Michaels and a co-conspirator were students at UMCP, they produced and sold fraudulent Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania driver’s licenses to individuals under the age of 21. The driver’s licenses falsely represented that these individuals were 21 years or older. Michaels allegedly informed acquaintances from his Montgomery County high school who were attending UMCP and other universities that he was selling false driver’s licenses featuring holograms that appeared to be genuine, and magnetic strips encoded with data that could be read by “swipe” card readers.

The indictment alleges that Michaels received $100 to $170 for each license sold and that he offered a free license to anyone who referred five other applicants to him. Michaels allegedly asked the applicants to provide photographs of themselves and to specify, the names, addresses, dates of birth and other identifying information they wanted on their false driver’s licenses. According to the indictment, Michaels and his co-conspirator then produced the fraudulent licenses in their dormitory room using an identification card printer and encoder, a thermal printer used to create false holograms of state seals, and other tools.

Finally, the indictment seeks forfeiture of $12,500, the alleged proceeds of the illegal activity, and the document-making implements.

Michaels faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy; and 15 years in prison on each of seven counts for the production, and seven counts for the transfer, of fraudulent identification documents; and 15 years in prison for possessing document-making implements.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the University of Maryland Police Department and U.S. Secret Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Robert K. Hur, who is prosecuting the case.

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